The regular season is over, and the playoffs are here. That means it's time for a final look at the High School Sports Top 10.
With the exception of Countryside, all the teams in our Top 10 are in the playoffs. From this point, the rankings are basically pointless. Just win baby, and you'll finish number 1!
Again, the High School Sports Top 10 includes gridiron teams from the entire Tampa Bay area, Polk, Pasco, Hernando, Sarasota, Pinellas, Hillsborough and Manatee, where we begin.
- Manatee 10-0 (1). The number one team in the nation ripped into Lakewood Ranch 49-6, wrapping up the Canes second undefeated season in three years. Manatee rested their starters after the first quarter, when the score was already 35-0. Manatee now begins their pursuit of back to back state titles, and their first victim... the Northeast Vikings.
- Largo 10-0 (2). The Packers finished a perfect 10-0 with their 37-14 win over Gibbs. Senior quarterback Juan Brown, this week's 10 News Sport "Player of the Week", once again led the way with another outstanding performance, including three first half scores and 172 yards passing. The Packers have one of the more interesting first round games when they host the Armwood Hawks.
- Plant 9-1 (3). These last few weeks, I've debated whether the Panthers were better than their rival from south Tampa, Robinson. Well, last Friday night, a dramatic come-from-behind win over the Knights helped solidify their strong No. 3 ranking. Now the Panthers host Orlando Freedom in the opening round of the playoffs. Look for Plant to be playing... in Orlando... when the playoffs conclude.
- Durant 10-0 (4). A perfect 10-0 season and school history for the Durant Cougars, with a 31-0 hard hitting win over the King Lions. Now Durant is looking to make more history with by going 11-0, then 12-0, and hopefully 15-0. Manatee will have a lot to say about that last bit of history. But the good news for Durant... they won't have to face Manatee unless they play in the state championship game. Right now they have to get past Tampa Bay Tech. I believe 11-0 is in their future.
- Pasco 10-0 (6). The Pirates move up one notch, flipping spots with Robinson. Pasco finishes 10-0 for the third consecutive season and sixth straight district title. For the year, Pasco outscored their opponents 492 - 50. A possible third round matchup against Robinson is looming, but first things first, with Pasco hosting North Marion this Friday.
- Robinson 9-1 (5). The Knights nearly pulled off their biggest win in recent school history, but came up short, losing 26-24 to Plant. In head coach Mike DePue's final season, Robinson has already achieved so many accomplishments, and they still have their sights on a state title.
- Lake Gibson 10-0 (7). The Braves enjoyed a bye during the last week of the regular season, giving them plenty of time to celebrate making school history with their first ever 10-0 season. Now Lake Gibson is gearing up for a long run in the playoffs and they kickoff their postseason with a home game against Daytona Beach Mainland.
- Countryside 4-6 (8). The Cougars season officially ended last week, with a 37-7 win over St. Petersburg. But in reality, their season ended in early October when they had to forfeit two district wins, and six wins altogether. Now the playoffs begin without Countryside, a break for the Northeast Vikings. And speaking of breaks, Northeast gets to open up AT Manatee!!! Sometimes reality is so strange.
- Hillsborough 8-1 (9). The Terriers used their game against Chamberlain to prepare for their first round home game against the surging Osceola Warriors.
- East Lake 9-1 (10). The Eagles finished the season with a 41-29 victory over the Clearwater Tornadoes. Quarterback Pete DiNovo, continues to play well, putting together another excellent year, 1975 yards passing, 18 TD's and 7 INT's. East Lake will now face Treasure Coast, at home, in the first round. Can you say "another round please!"
Here is a quick look at a few teams that didn't crack our Top Ten, but they will all be playing this Friday night.
Clearwater Central Catholic - could they be the first Pinellas County team to win a state championship?
Lakewood - looking for a rematch and revenge in a second round game against Robinson.
Armwood - it's hard to figure out the Hawks. We'll see it it's also hard to beat the Hawks.
Springstead - though they didn't get their 10-0 season, they still won their district and get that coveted first round game at home, against Ocala Vanguard.
Lakeland - they haven't been a late playoff threat in the past few years. Look for the Dreadnaughts to get to the Regional finals, but past that?